hereford road

Like a magpie drawn to sparkly objects I am constantly tempted by the gleam of shiny new eateries. Not only has this led to a fair few duds, it has proven to be a serious drain on the wallet hence this year I endeavour to be a little more discerning in my restaurant selection, letting others hit up places ahead of me before diving in. I am also keen to return more to familiar haunts like Sakana-tei, Bob Bob Ricard, The Ledbury or Bincho, where I know we’ll be looked after and our money well spent.

One such place that we have been frequenting for years but have neglected of late, is Tom Pemberton’s Hereford Road. Tom was the former head chef at St John Bread and Wine, clearly evident in how the daily-changing menu reads – hearty plates of British produce – seasonal fruit and veg, sustainable line-caught fish and locally reared meat and poultry.

Fan of offal that I am, I make a beeline for meaty grilled Ox Hearts or tender Veal Sweetbreads whenever either appear on the menu. The latter is sometimes sautéed with cauliflower and capers, but I favour them deep-fried and crisp with a soft centre and served with a gently sharp tartare sauce that cuts through the creaminess. Heavenly.

For the less adventurous there are always several vegetarian starters, as well as plenty of fish and seafood options. When I can pull myself away from ordering animal bits, I’ll opt for perhaps the Braised Octopus with Aioli, Globe Artichoke with vinaigrette, or their Potted Crab which is very good indeed.

Mains are equally uncomplicated. Fish is left on the bone, grilled, roasted or pan-fried and plated up with a simple side; the selection on offer rotating with the seasons – maybe Mackerel and Piccalilli, Slip Soles with refreshing minted Cucumber or Grey Mullet and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

Meat is also handled simply and accompanied by vegetables. When available, game is usually a solid choice as both a starter (Quail and Aioli) or main (Pigeon with Lentils and Chicory), but really you can’t go wrong with most things – a recently ordered Pot-Roasted Duck Leg with Carrots was moist, tender and full of flavour.

And of course I enjoy offally dishes such as pan-fried Calf’s Liver, Kidneys and Onions but I would be just as happy with a roast Veal or Pork Chop. There’s often items intended for sharing between two, like a whole Sea Bass, slow-cooked Roe Shoulder or Roasted Ox Tail (I have been dying to partake of one of these but it has yet to grace the menu on any of my visits).

Puddings are no-nonsense and rustic, including comforting favourites like Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Rice Pudding and Buttermilk Pudding (served with delicious thin biscuits), as well as a limited choice of homemade ice cream and local cheeses.

Hereford Road is a great little neighbourhood joint and we’re lucky to live a stone’s throw away – it’s especially convenient when we want a break from the kitchen but still crave home-style fare. However it’s not a destination restaurant as such and if seeking refinement or a sense of occasion you should look elsewhere (possibly to Ledbury, a short walk away). But if you are after good honest British cooking, this would certainly be the place for you.

Hereford Road
3 Hereford Road
London W2 4AB

t. 020 7727 1144

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~ by gourmettraveller on March 2, 2011.

12 Responses to “hereford road”

  1. Mmmmm Pics make it all look so good!

    I’ve been once and had roast lamb rump which was pretty amazing.

  2. Yum, Ox Hearts and Veal Sweetbreads that looks and sounds good! It looks like a great place for some real good honest cooking! When food is well sourced then the cooking can be kept simple, it makes perfect sense!

  3. Gotta love Hereford Road and their no-nonsense approach, there’s not many restaurants with the balls to pull of that Kidney liver number – great post!

  4. I visited Hereford Road just over a year ago and didn’t enjoy it much; their salt beef was miserable, and I found it too expensive. Shame really, but from your photos perhaps it deserves a second chance.

    • Sad to hear it. Was Tom behind the stove when you visited? I find on the occasions when he isn’t it can be a little hit-and-miss. Also, some dishes are definitely better than others.

  5. Looks wonderful!

  6. colourful delicious post

  7. Fascinating post. I would love to sample some of these seldom visited dishes here in Santa Barbara. We do make a spectacular sticky toffee pudding and this post is like an alarm going off for us to get that recipe out in time for St, Patrick’s Day.

  8. Sadly I only made it there once, though I lived so near by for a good few years…the one time I did go, it was a bit hit & miss (but mostly good), but the service was atrocious mostly because there was a large birthday party going on in the middle of the restaurant and everything…dragged…on…forever. I guess I could never get passed that as it felt like they didn’t give two hoots about our table. I didn’t think I was one to hold a grudge, but maybe I did in this case. They also have a few good wine choices – both by the bottle and glass – that won’t break the bank either, from memory. I recall we had an Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc which was quite nice for the price.

    • I must admit if I were in your shoes I possibly would not have returned – nothing grates more than dismissive service. You’re right about the wines, they do have a decent succinct list of bottles with a fair few being quite reasonably-priced.

  9. wow, you always post incredible food. you must eat extremely well!

  10. Beautiful photos, as always. Another one to add to the list; if only for the sweetbreads… and the sticky toffee pudding. Some days just call for it.

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